Monday, August 24, 2009

Let Me See If I Have This Right...

We're about to get a National Health Care Plan...

  • Written by a committee whose head says he doesn't understand it
  • Passed and signed into law by a Congress and a President who never read it and are exempt from it
  • Funded and administered by a Treasury Secretary who didn't pay his taxes
  • Overseen by a Surgeon General who is obese, and
  • Financed by a country that’s $65 Trillion in debt
What possibly could go wrong?

Friday, August 14, 2009

"Food Safety Bill" Clears House With Support from EVERY Member of Michigan Delegation, Save One.

HR 2749 passed the House on July 30, 2009 with the support of every member of the Michigan Delegation, Democrats and Republicans, except one member: Peter Hoekstra. Read the sorry details here.

Is the FDA about to become the "Soup Nazi?"

Say goodbye to the family farm.
It's called the Food Safety Enhancement Act (H.R. 2749). Under this legislation, according to Paul Williams, Ph.D., "this Act will grant the FDA the authority to regulate how crops are raised and harvested; to quarantine a geographic area; to make warrant-less searches of business records; and to establish a national food tracing system. It will impose annual registration fees of $500 on all facilities holding, processing, or manufacturing food. Farmers who fail to comply with the new regulations will be subjected to fines and criminal prosecution.

"Under the terms of the bill, crops must be grown in sterile areas, surrounded by 450 foot buffers, so that they are not exposed to other vegetation, runoffwater, birds, beasts, or wildlife of any kind. "To create such sterile farms, ponds will be poisoned; wetlands drained; and streams re-routed to safeguard the crops from untreated water. "Trees will be bulldozed from agricultural corridors to protect the fields from bird droppings. "Fields will be lined with poison-filled tubes to kill rodents. "All children under five will be prohibited from stepping foot on farmland or tilled soil for fear of leaky diapers. "A crow landing in a cornfield will mandate the destruction of the entire corn crop."

If you want to know more click here.


Reagan 50 years ago

Ronald Reagan predicts the march of socialism through the federal takeover of the national health care system...50 years before it happens! Watch a one-minute video that says it all here.

HR 2749: Totalitarian Control of the Food Supply

A new food safety bill is on the fast track in Congress-HR 2749, the Food Safety Enhancement Act of 2009. The bill needs to be stopped.

HR 2749 gives FDA tremendous power while significantly diminishing existing judicial restraints on actions taken by the agency. The bill would impose a one-size-fits-all regulatory scheme on small farms and local artisanal producers; and it would disproportionately impact their operations for the worse.

Read more here.

Get details on the bill and its sponsor Representative John Dingell here.

More information here.

Contact the good Congressman here.

Ronald Reagan Knew. Forty-nine Years Ago, He Knew.

Ronald Reagan had it figured out nearly fifty years ago. Ronald Reagan was a staunch free-market capitalist. He believed in limited government. He did not have an epiphany about conservatism when he decided to run for President. His beliefs were in the core of his being long before he ran for political office. Here is evidence of that fact. Here is a one-minute sound clip from a speech Ronald Reagan gave about national health care back in the 50's. He was right then, and he speaks to us from the grave about the pit we are about to step into with socialized medicine. Listen here.

Hear the full ten-minute speech here.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

What REALLY Happens With the State Budget Every Year?

I served in the legislature six years, until leaving under the state's term limits law. I learned a great deal about how government really works in the state. One of the things I learned is that the budget process really only involves five people: the governnor, the Speaker of the House, the Majority leader of the Senate, and the two minority leaders (House and Senate).

According to the Constitution, the governor proposes a budget and the legislature actually appropriates the money through an arduous and lengthy process. Eighteen budgets are deliberated over by both chambers of the legislature. In the end, there is a reconciliation between the House, Senate and Admnistration. But all of that process is window dressing. What really happens? It's called "targets."

Read this story by Kyle Melinn. He writes for the Lansing City Pulse and the MIRS newsletter. His somewhat cynical view of the process is in fact, very accurate. I can attest to that from first hand experience. I have copied the text below for those who don't want to link to the article.

Wednesday, July 22,2009

Don't Tell Anyone About Our Secret Government

by Kyle Melinn

From now until at least September, our state government leaders will be periodically locking themselves in a room at an unannounced time and place.

The public has no real idea what is being discussed “behind closed doors,” as Charlie Rich sings, other than the promise is that next year’s budget is getting smashed together. The daily spoonful fed to the media is that discussions “are ongoing,” somewhat like life itself, but we’re assuming much more painful.

Whoever steps into the room takes a Mason’s-like pledge of secrecy. Anyone with the gall to break that circle of trust by — gasp — talking to anyone but the Holy Father himself is shot at sunrise.

This deal-making process is called “targets.” Typically, the meetings include someone from the Governor’s Office or state Budget Office, sometimes the governor herself, the Senate majority leader, the speaker of the House, some other key lawmakers, plenty of paid staff or some combination thereof.

This “targets” fraternity process isn’t written into the Constitution or mentioned in state law.

And, yet, this is where state government discovers how much money it spends. On which programs the money will be spent. How much of that money will be spent on said programs. Which taxes and fees, if any, will be raised.

Pretty important stuff, really. And it’s all secret. Every last word.

What do these people talk about? What are the subjects that are truly “on the table?” What do all sides completely agree is “off the table?” The official answer: “Discussions are ongoing.” Until they cease to be ongoing, I suppose.

This year’s round of “targets” is particularly agitating to the few and the proud who prefer open government in Lansing. Myself included.

Typically, the governor puts out her budget plan in February. The House and Senate take the next four months to sniff it, bat it around and then, ultimately, gnaw on it before they, too, pass a budget that is remarkably similar but uniquely different than the governor’s. At that point they scurry into the “targets” room and, many weeks later, emerge with arms locked in a warm, wonderful embrace. They name the baby “Deal.”

This year, the governor proposed a budget in February and then watched state revenues drop off a cliff. President Barack Obama fed this state money as fast as Treasury could print it, but a lot of it is meant only for a social programming, energy efficiency and likeminded, well-intentioned programs. The hemorrhaging General Fund? Nope.

The House passed its budget, by and large, before anybody knew how bad the problem was, which left the Senate to pass something in June so hideous two senators fought about it in an elevator.

So now we’re allegedly in targets, but what is being targeted? The governor’s and the House’s public plans are outdated. Passing those budgets without tax increases would blow a hole in the state’s checkbook, and everybody knows it. They’re not seriously being discussed.

Gov. Jennifer Granholm is telling her favorite mass media reporters that she doesn’t like some of the Senate’s cuts, which she shouldn’t. But outside of making a vague reference to $500 million to $1 billion in “tax loophole” closings, she isn’t offering a counter-proposal.

Maybe she has one, but Granholm only talks over the phone to select, big-market reporters who don’t ask tough questions.

Does the House leadership have a plan? I’m sure Speaker Andy Dillon’s has a brilliant, novel approach to balance the budget. I’m not being sarcastic about that, either. It’s just that unless you can read his mind, you’ll never know what it is.

So we have secret meetings taking place at secret times on secret proposals that ultimately will become a secret, unalterable “deal” that any member of the majority is obliged to vote for.

Sounds like the creation of the Michigan Service Tax of two years ago!

The difference, of course, is that the Service Tax was the spawn of some new dark hole that recently opened up in the Capitol called the “work group,” the poor and lessexclusive cousin of “targets.” Hand-picked lawmakers, lobbyists and staff all jump into this “workgroup” abyss when there’s a real big problem chasing them, like a broken tax system, for example.

If all goes well, out pops a bill “everybody” allegedly agreed to. Any substantive changes are completely out of the question. Minor, “technical” changes can be fixed on the House floor, where amendments are never read, rarely explained and almost always jammed through under the dull, loud roar of 110 people talking sports, movies and family.

Hey, but at least the final vote on the final product is recorded for posterity. The Legislature will even record who voted how in its official journal, and why wouldn’t it? Would you expect anything less from an open American government?

(Kyle Melinn is the editor at the MIRS newsletter. His column runs weekly. Write


DEQ Gives Homeowner Permit to Dump Nearly One Billion Gallons of Ground Water Down the Drain

Do you remember the big battle in Evart, Michigan between Ice Mountain and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ)? Nestle Waters was trying to create hundreds of jobs by bottling fresh ground water for retail sale. The DEQ, joined by the environmental groups like the Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation (MCWC), argued that Ice Mountain would deplete the ground water, causing damage to nearby lakes and streams. The case dragged on for years, coming to a final conclusion only last month when Ice Mountain agreed to pump no more than 313,000 gallons of groundwater per day. Originally, Ice Mountain had been granted permission to pump 576,000 gallons per day.

Terry Swier, president of the MCWC, called the settlement a victory for her organization. "This will leave more water in the system and should eliminate the more serious impacts" to the waterways that were threatened by the withdrawals, Swier said.

My question is this: If the DEQ and the MCWC were willing to fight so hard protect the ground water and the environment in that case, where are they on the situation in Grand Haven Township?

Look closely at the picture above. What you are looking at is called an "outfall structure." It is essentially a well with a pump at the bottom capable of extracting up to 450,000 gallons of fresh ground water per day. It runs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

How did this pump get here? The short version of the story goes like this. A property owner applied for and was given a permit to build a home. Just before construction began, the builder decided to move the foundation from the back of the property to the front. After digging the foundation and putting in the basement, they discovered they were in a high water table. They tried installing a sump pump but it couldn't keep up. They ended up installing the outfall structure you see in the picture. This pristine water is being extracted from the water table and dumped, ostensibly into a county drain.

The problem is, the county drain doesn't go anywhere, leaving the potential for severe flooding of the neighborhood, especially when there is a wet, rainy period like we had last Spring. This causes damage to crops, property values and the highway that runs about 50 feet from the pump. Granted, the water eventually percolates back into the ground, but doesn't seem like a waste of quality ground water to allow this to happen? Why are environmental groups and the DEQ not taking action to prevent this waste? A neighbor across the street has been inquiring of the DEQ, the Drain Commissioner, the Township Board, the Department of Transportation and the County Road Commission. No action has been taken. This situation has been ongoing for over one year.

When pressed on the issue, legal counsel for the DEQ said in effect: "Oh, we didn't give them permission to pump all that water, we just granted them a permit to put the pipe in the ground." Who knew that all that water would come spewing out of the pipe?
Where are the Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation on this one?